How do you deal with social anxiety in online games?
We all have at least a little social anxiety. Some of us have a lot. For example, even though I’ve played World of Warcraft for years, have raided in groups, and played with PUGs where I didn’t know anybody, I still get incredibly tense and anxious whenever I’m in a group with people I don’t know. This is especially true if I’m expected to talk to them using my actual voice. This makes my anxiety spike super hard and I get the full suite of problems — cold sweats, a tremor in my voice, even nausea if I feel like too many people are listening to me talk. I’ve always hated whatever the voice chat program of the day is, be it TeamSpeak and Vent back in the day or Discord now.
But I love playing these games, and so I manage to distract myself from how tense and afraid I am whenever I’m grouped with strangers. Sometimes I do this by being overly friendly, sometimes by being aloof and standoffish. Sometimes I tell really awful jokes. Well, actually, often I tell really awful jokes. But that’s generally how I manage to cope.
But I’m curious about others. Of course, some of you might just be nervous for a few moments and then get over it, and some of you may never be nervous at all. But even those are valuable points of view to consider when you’re someone like me, someone who is perpetually tense when in groups online. How does it feel to you? Are you super chill, and if so, can you give me any tips on how to be chill online? If you’re anxious yourself, do you have a way you cope with it, like maybe just playing Genji and never talking at all? What are your suggestions on how to cope with anxiety while playing your favorite games?
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